Senate denies Biden's request to release Tara Reade's written complaint on alleged sexual assault
Amid the growing pressure on presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden over the 27-year-old rape accusation brought against him by his former Senate aide Tara Reade, the secretary of the Senate on Monday, May 4, refused to comply with the former vice president’s appeal for releasing records of the complaint, if there are any.
It was on Friday, April 30, that Biden formally wrote to Secretary Julie Adams seeking cooperation to know whether Reade had filed a written complaint in 1993 as she claimed. She worked as a staff assistant in the office of Biden, who was the senator from Delaware then.
Reade, 56 now, came up with her explosive accusation against Biden in late March and it was only last Friday, May 1, that the Democratic candidate said it is not true. She has said that she filed a written complaint but it did not mention the alleged sexual assault. Speaking with the National Public Radio (NPR) last month, Reade said: “I talked about the sexual harassment, I thought about the sexual assault, but I was afraid to write down details, just handing it to some clerk because I didn't know where it was going to go.”
Biden wrote in his letter to Adams: “I request that you take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records of this Office, and once they have been located, to direct a search for the alleged complaint and to make public the results of this search. I would ask that the public release include not only a complaint if one exists, but any and all other documents in the records that relate to the allegation.”
Refusing to comply with Biden’s request to release any record related to Reade’s allegations, Adams’ office said in a statement to USA Today: “Based on the law’s strict confidentiality requirements... and the Senate’s own direction that disclosure of Senate Records is not authorized if prohibited by law..., Senate Legal Counsel advises that the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested in Vice President Biden’s letter of May 1.”
The Senate legal counsel advised the secretary’s office that the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, where the former staff member’s complaint would likely have been filed, has “strict confidentiality requirements”, ABC News reported.
Biden campaign tried again but in vain
Biden’s campaign still tried to get it through. Bill Bauer, former White House counsel under the Barack Obama presidency and a lawyer for the Democrat's campaign, replied to Adams asking if the existence of a complaint could legally be released or if it could be released to the person or party who filed it. Adams’s office refused to entertain even those inquiries.
Reade told NPR that she had spoken to three individuals in the office raising her concerns but none of them acknowledged that such a conversation ever took place. The three persons are Biden’s long-time aide Dennis Toner, his then-chief of staff Ted Kaufman and executive assistant Marianne Baker.
Biden, however, has found substantial support from his fellow Democrats, including women, in this case. From senior women politicians like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren to first-time governor Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), the veteran politician has found endorsements and support from many. Other party leaders have also said the media has fully vetted the case and the allegations have been found to be untrue.